13/06/2018 - 11:43

Northam lifestyle village latest regional project

13/06/2018 - 11:43

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Property developers Mike Hollett and Chris Harrison have gained backing from Wyllie Group for a 250-lot lifestyle village in Northam, adding to a string of projects collectively worth about $200 million in the shire.

Northam lifestyle village latest regional project
Mike Hollett (left), Todd Morcombe (Wyllie Group), Chris Harrison, Chris Antonio (Shire of Northam president) and Jason Whiteaker.

Property developers Mike Hollett and Chris Harrison have gained backing from Wyllie Group for a 250-lot lifestyle village in Northam, adding to a string of projects collectively worth about $200 million in the shire.

Eco Lifestyle Villages is the latest venture for their company, H&H Development Enterprise.

Work on the Northam village started early this month, after the contract was awarded to Toodyay contractor Vernice.

Mr Hollett said H&H had submitted a development application for a second, 120-lot, village in Gingin.

The Northam project brings together several people with experience in the industry.

Mr Hollett is a former chief executive of sector leader National Lifestyle Villages, while Mr Harrison was previously a general manager with Fini Retirement Villages and later NLV.

They have partnered with Wyllie Group to fund the Northam project, while building company Modular WA – headed by Wyllie chairman Wayne McGrath – is their building partner.

The planned villages will provide an alternative to those offered by the likes of NLV.

“We’ve targeted locations about one hour from Perth, so you get the country living but Perth is still accessible,” Mr Hollett said.

The country location meant each lot would be about 400 square metres, nearly double the size offered by competitors.

Stage one of the Northam project comprises 17 sites, incorporating four display homes.

The project includes a clubhouse that will be built in two components, with construction of its first stage to begin when stage one is fully sold.

Mr Hollett said the Northam village would also feature a solar-battery microgrid, meaning 70 per cent of power would be off-grid, plus recycled water and an organic orchard and garden.

Eco Lifestyle Village also offered a different financial model, with zero exit fees, meaning residents owned their home 100 per cent.

The lifestyle village is the latest of several developments in the Northam area, including two shopping centre projects, a solar farm, and hotel restorations.

Shire of Northam chief executive Jason Whiteaker said projects under way or planned had been valued at more than $200 million.

“There is a lot of development, it’s really exciting,” Whiteaker told Business News.

Mr Whiteaker said the attractions included Northam’s proximity to Perth, affordable property values, and a catchment with about 25,000 people.

Current projects include Carnegie Clean Energy’s 10-megawatt solar farm on the outskirts of the town, while Melbourne company Procon Developments will shortly start work on a Shell roadhouse on Great Eastern Highway.

An upgrade of the Commercial Hotel will start shortly, while cafe group Dome is in the midst of a long-running renovation of the Shamrock Hotel.

The redeveloped Shamrock property will be known as The Farmer’s Home and will feature a Dome cafe, a wine bar, visitor and community space, and boutique hotel accommodation.

This is one of several heritage restoration projects in regional WA by Dome, which recently opened the Premier Mill in Katanning and is planning to redevelop the Hordern Hotel in Narrogin.

Property developer Windsor Knight opened a 7,000 square metre shopping centre last November, with Coles, Aldi and Best & Less as anchor tenants.

Windsor Knight director Greg Pearce said his group invested $21 million in the centre, which was now valued at more than $30 million.

“It’s been trading very well,” he said.

A competing development is the $15 million Northam Boulevard shopping centre.

Vikas Rambal’s Perdaman Industries bought the centre in 2014 for $14 million and has since merged it with Northam Arcade.

Other recent projects include a $45 million expansion and upgrade of the hospital, construction of a GP super clinic and a St John Ambulance regional office.

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